Jerking Our Chains

In the wake of another horrific beheading there are calls to punish ISIS, which kind of ignores the fact that we’d already been punishing ISIS.

Over the past month, the U.S. military has launched more than 100 air strikes against ISIS targets in northern Iraq. While U.S. officials have publicly justified the attacks on humanitarian grounds—as well as protecting U.S. interests—they also have obliterated dozens of ISIS vehicles and checkpoints, and those manning them.

There is no way ISIS can counter U.S. air strikes. It has no air force and apparently has few, if any, anti-aircraft weapons. Its ground forces, once identified, are easy targets for American laser- and GPS-guided bombs and missiles.

So they’re beheading captured journalists because that’s all they can do. This is a terrible thing, but getting a rise out of us is what they want, and pushing us into some ham-handed retaliation would enhance their status as a terrorist organization. Which is why we would be wise to not let ISIS jerk our chains.

See also How America Made ISIS by Tom Engelhardt.

8 thoughts on “Jerking Our Chains

  1. And now, the President is talking about vengeance.
    And then, ISIS will want vengeance for our vengeance.
    And so, the death spiral keeps spinning.

  2. I don’t think that’s the right conclusion: They’re beheading captives in a somewhat futile effort to get the U.S. to stop airstrikes because U.S. airstrikes have been devastating to their fortunes on the battlefield, and could conceivably be a major part of wiping the organization out entirely with relative haste.

  3. Also, the Engelhardt article strikes me as downright stupid and borderline narcissistic, in the “America is responsible for everything and everyone” genre.

  4. “pushing us into some ham-handed retaliation would enhance their status as a terrorist organization”

    I can’t figure out who’s doing the pushing here, ISIS or our mainstream media? The war-pimps are out in force, once they start they will not stop until the war begins!

  5. Slightly off topic: this duck dynasty guy was on Hannity’s poor excuse for a television show and stated that “we should convert them or kill them.” I guess referring to muslims. Definitely, a “real” Christian idea. However, looking at the picture of him that is at Dailykos, he looks definitively like a muslim cleric himself. See for yourself.

    I find it very amusing.

  6. I’m not at all sure what motivates senseless murders like this. Some of it ‘feels’ like the Somali pirates and their ransom demands. I understand we refused to pay ransom, and though I deplore the murder, I agree that paying would only invite an escalation of abductions. The brutality has a racist feel to it – akin to a KKK hanging – though the contempt is over religion rather than race. One element is gorilla chest beating – a primal announcement of primacy – proving power by taking something irreplaceable – a human life. And some of it is territorial – the mentality of the truly fanatical views the Middle East as sacredly Muslim, and the mere presence of an Infidel as sacrilege.

    The consequences they expect are just as hard to fathom. Do they think we will put US soldiers on the ground (within reach) and conduct a prolonged and expensive war which will drive the US into bankruptcy? Do they think all foreigners will flee the Mid-East and leave them to brutally crush any domestic (Muslim) resistance? Do they expect the native Islamic population to be thrilled and join the jihad against everything Western and non-fundamentalist-Islamic?

    To defeat this kind of group, we need to understand them. Then we may see their vulnerability – not on a military basis alone, but as they fit (or don’t fit) into the mainstream of Muslim society. Really defeating ISIS means getting the people there in the Mid-East to reject the message and methods.

  7. I hear that Muslim’s are distancing themselves from the behaviors of ISIS. It’s giving them and their religion a bad name. This beheading nonsense could be classified or viewed as being consistent with Maha’s description of the “bigger asshole theory” as applied to Middle Eastern politics.

  8. Bonnie ..That Dynasty Duck guy is such a blatant contradiction that I can’t figure out if its amusing or sad. Sad that I guy like that would even be given space on the public airwaves. He’s saying the exact same thing ISIS is saying, convert or be killed, yet he’s not bright enough to pick up on his own contradiction. So much for the theory that wealth and intelligence are somehow synonymous.

    If he was wearing a wizards hat.. he’d be complete!

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